Shutterings and Mutterings - photography blog

Photo of paper cut out figures holding up a washing line bearing pants and socks

Pants in the name of protest

Some of the greatest works of art have been inspired by real events - Picasso's Guernica was a response to an air raid during the Spanish Civil War, The Grapes of Wrath was John Steinbeck's reaction to the conditions he observed in California during the Great Depression.

My effort above will never rank alongside Picasso and Steinbeck but it draws inspiration from a real event - the Colyton laundry protest.

In a nutshell, a resident of the town of Colyton, in east Devon, England, hung some washing out to dry in front of her house. She then received an anonymous letter advising her that this was bad for the town's image. The letter became public knowledge and many of the townspeople decided to show their contempt for the anonymous critic by putting their own washing on public display.

The protest was reported locally on June 8, 2018, and made national headlines on June 12. This report on the BBC website is a typical example of national coverage.

There was also an interesting piece in The Guardian.

Since I enjoy eccentric news stories and despise anonymous complainers I felt motivated to create something to commemorate the incident and show my support. I opted for cut-out figures since paper, scissors and glue were immediately to hand and reprised the style I used for the animation I'm Staying In The Car.

I found the weight of the washing line - made with a piece of sewing cotton - was too much for the figures to support and they had to be glued down to a base. The set-up was lit with two LED torches and I pushed the saturation in post-production to bring out the colours.

Viva la laundry revolution!

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What camera? I used a Nikon D700 The lens was an AF Zoom-Nikkor 24-88mm on macro setting.

How was it lit? The set-up was placed by a window lit with afternoon sunlight coming in from the left. Personally, I feel it's a bit too uneven.

Is Colyton worth visiting? If the nature of this bit of community action is anything to go by, it probably is. The closest I've been to the town is Colyton station at the end of the Seaton Tramway, an impressive heritage light railway that takes you through some stunning estuary scenery on vintage trams. All pretty good in my book...

You can see more by visiting my Flickr photo stream.